Skip to Content

3 Minute Garlic Butter Wilted Kale - How to Cook Kale

Wilted kale is the simplest and most delicious way of getting that highly nutritious green into your diet. Sautéed kale is an easy side dish that is perfect with spicy curries, stews and casseroles. The garlic and salted butter add wonderful depths to the kale, and it is almost too easy to even call it a recipe.


Big bowl of sauteed kale. Pastel green linen on the side.


But anyway, here I will tell you how to cook kale in just 3 minutes - with just 3 ingredients! And did you know kale has major health benefits as well? This is almost too good to be true, but I'll tell you all about it below.


Wilted kale in the focus in a big bowl with curry and rice. White background.


Nutrition profile: The health benefits of kale


Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious-dense foods on earth. It's a member of the cabbage family, which makes sense as I don't think it works that great as a green in salads (wilted kale salad is a different story!). Kale is a little rough, bitter and hard on its own and that is why we are wilting it! - but it is SO HEALTHY.


Kale is high in vitamin A, K, C (more than an orange!), B1, B2, B3, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. And 1 cup of kale is just a mere 33 calories! Doesn't it just sound way too good to be true? It's the Miss Universe of foods.


It is also high in antioxidants, which are good for the heart, blood pressure, they're anti-inflammatory - and guess what - even anti-depressant and anti-cancer! Kale can help lower cholesterol, which then reduces the risk for heart diseases. Here's a little breakdown of some of its nutrients:


  • Vitamin C - necessary for the synthesis of collagen in the body
  • Vitamin K - critical for blood clotting and kale is one of the best sources of vit K!
  • Bile acid sequestrants - lowers cholesterol by preventing reabsorption of bile acids (and this is even better when you steam the kale - bonus!)
  • Sulforaphane - help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level
  • Beta-Carotene - turns into vitamin A, essential for healthy vision, teeth, skeletal tissue and skin
  • Calcium - great for your bone health
  • Magnesium - prevents type 2 diabetes and good for heart health
  • Potassium - reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin - powerful nutrients that protect your eyes
  • Low calorie - great for weight loss


To learn more about the health benefits of this glorious green, read this article.


Ingredients to make garlic butter wilted kale.


What is 'wilted kale'?


And what exactly is 'wilted kale'? you may ask.


Wilted kale is cooked or steamed kale, also known as sautéed kale, so it's drastically reduced in size and is much more soft. You know you can add a ton of spinach to a casserole or a curry, and it looks way too much but suddenly it turned into about nothing? That is wilted spinach. The same goes for kale, only that it keeps its shape a little better.


Adding chopped kale to melted butter in a saucepan.


When spinach almost turns into a mush, kale still looks like kale, but wilted kale is miiiiles better than raw kale. And considering it better reduces cholesterol once it's steamed - it doesn't hurt to add a little butter for flavor, right? The butter adds a wonderfully nice touch to the kale, but you can omit it if you really want to keep it super duper healthy. But I'm pro flavor!


What to eat with garlic butter wilted kale


Anywhere you normally use wilted spinach, wilted kale can work too. But wilted kale can also substitute fresh spinach, such as a wilted kale salad. You can use wilted kale in this lemon chicken winter salad, instead of the fresh spinach. Same goes for this lemon chicken with spring greens and healthy halloumi quinoa salad. Again, instead of the wilted spinach in this vegan ginger lentil curry, you can serve wilted kale next to it. Easy winter comfort food!


A new favorite combination of mine is this sriracha honey glazed pork, this garlic kale and fried potatoes! Since kale is so versatile, I also add it as something green with my pumpkin gnocchi or even orange pepper roasted chicken.


A casserole with kale before it's sauteed.


For Thanksgiving, it would be amazing as an extra healthy side dish with your Citrus Rosemary Turkey. You could also serve it alongside other comfort dinners such as parmesan pumpkin pasta and spaghetti bolognese. Rice and beans stuffed bell peppers could also benefit from a little healthy green on the side. I also tried it with a West African Peanut Stew and it was so delicious. I'm still working on that recipe, so stay tuned for that.


How to cook kale


Cooking kale is so simple!


I usually go for pre-chopped kale in a bag. It's convenient and things go even faster. There's no problem in cutting it yourself either. You can even use the stems, although I would cut them in smaller bite sized pieces. The stem will naturally be a little harder than the leaves, so you can leave them out if you wish too.


A casserole with wilted kale and a wooden spatula.


Add a little water, butter and one grated garlic clove to a large saucepan or casserole, on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the chopped kale. Mix to cover the kale with the butter and then cover the pan. Let it steam for about 3 minutes, or until it looks wilted. Stir one more time to completely cover the kale with garlic butter!


Serve immediately with some of my tips in the above paragraph and even some more side dishes below. Enjoy!


Wilted kale, peanut stew and steamed rice in a big bowl. Flatlay on white marble background.


Did you like this recipe? Here's more quick and easy side dishes:



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year. 

In order to keep the blog up and running this post may contain affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.


📖 Recipe

Big bowl of sauteed kale. Pastel green linen on the side.

How to Cook 3 Minute Garlic Butter Wilted Kale

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

3 Minute Garlic Butter Wilted Kale, or sautéed kale, is the easiest and most delicious way of getting the highly nutritious green into your diet.


  • 3 cups chopped kale, 200g (or 1 bag)
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon salted butter, or oil + salt for vegan
  • 1 clove garlic, grated


  1. To a large saucepan; add water, butter and garlic. On medium high, let the butter melt.
  2. Add in the chopped kale (stems in small pieces are ok). It will look like a lot, but starts to reduce in size once wilted. Stir to coat the kale in melted butter.
  3. Cover and let it steam for 2-3 minutes or until kale is wilted. Stir once more and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 5.8gSaturated Fat: 3.7gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 5.5gFiber: 0.8gProtein: 1.6g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 22nd of June 2023



Saturday 9th of May 2020

Yummmmy! Absolutely so easy to chop up and I loved it! My tween kids ate it up without complaint also. They don’t rave about it quite as much as I do though. ;)

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Thank you so much, first time I made it is was instant love for me too! It's a start, soon they will love it as much as we do :)


Thursday 19th of March 2020

We absolutely love kale in our house and have tried it numerous ways. Thank you for the new ideas, I can't wait to try them.

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Friday 20th of March 2020

No problem, Alexis!


Wednesday 18th of March 2020

I love the simplicity of this recipe, kale is one of my favourite greens. I could eat tonnes of it but I’ve never left it so simple with garlic and butter definitely a must make. Thank you for your recipe ?

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Friday 20th of March 2020

I was surprised myself as to how easy and how few ingredients could taste so good! :)

Kacey Perez

Tuesday 17th of March 2020

I love kale and this is such an easy way to enjoy the vegetable. Really want to make this soon - especially when there is such an emphasis on staying healthy these days!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Yes exactly! Staying healthy is important, and especially so now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe